GOVERNMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF ESWATINI

 ACTING MINISTER FOR INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS & TECHNOLOGY (ICT)

SENATOR MANQOBA B. KHUMALO

 PRESS CONFERENCE (SET TOP BOXES)

ICT CONFERENCE ROOM

 

24 JUNE, 2020

 

 

Principal Secretary – Mr. Maxwell Masuku

ESCCOM Chief Executive – Mr. Mvilawemphi Dlamini

Managing Director – EPTC Mr. Petros Dlamini

Communications Department Director – Mr. Andreas Dlamini

Officials

Media Houses Representatives

Ladies and gentlemen, may I take this opportunity to welcome you all to this important Press Conference. First and foremost, I must highlight that part of the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology’s mandate includes inter alia:

  • Providing an efficient national information, communications and technology delivery framework for citizens
  • Encouraging knowledge management through universal access to information, with well developed, efficient and affordable communications facilities.

In 2014, the Ministry introduced the process of digital migration whereby the country had to switch from the analogue way of broadcasting to digital broadcasting in adherence to the June 2015 deadline that was set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Conference in Geneva in 2006. Set-top-boxes (bo-Sgujana) were first introduced at E550 per box.  However, Government took a stand to drastically subsidize them and they ended up being two hundred and fifty Emalangeni (E250) per set top box within a short space of time making them more affordable to the public.

Ladies and gentlemen, as a country we are currently faced with perilous times and Government is working 24/7 to find ways and means to curb the scourge of the Corona Virus which has drastically affected our livelihood.  The best ammunition therefore is to rigorously use the print and electronic media to disseminate information that is up to date on preventive measures about the Virus.

It is in this premise that the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology in collaboration with the Regulator (Eswatini Communications Commission) deemed it fit to make the Set Top Boxes affordable to the public by reducing the price yet again from Two Hundred and Fifty Emalangeni (E250) to only One Hundred Emalangeni (E100). I must commend  ESCCOM for coming up with the sponsorship of six hundred thousand Emalangeni (E600,000)  thus making this huge subsidy possible. We are hopeful that this will also go a long way in assisting more leaners to have access to lessons through the ongoing radio and television lessons that were introduced in the beginning of the partial lockdown as local schools had to be shut down.

We would also like to pass our sincere gratitude to EPTC who have been our main distribution partner from day one. The Parastatal has assured us that the set-top-boxes are available in all post offices country wide as we speak. However, the stock is limited. 

Through the sgujana platform, one is able to receive, Eswatini TV, Channel Yemaswati, EBIS 1 and 2, VOC 1 and 2, France 24 and DW TV. Plans to open up more channels are in the pipeline. Emaswati are therefore urged to get their set top boxes ”while stocks last”. Customers can call the number 2404 6440 for questions about installation and signal problems or use the WhatsApp self help number which is 78559759.

In conclusion, let us remember to adhere to the guidelines from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization by regularly washing our hands with soap and running water or using hand sanitizers; wearing face masks and practice social distancing.

 

 

Inkhosi Ayibe Natsi Sonkhe Sisalwa Nalomkhuhlane!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signing Ceremony of the Revised Georgetown Agreement

 On Friday 12 June 2020, the Kingdom of Eswatini represented by H.E. Ambassador Sibusisiwe Mngomezulu, as a member of the OACPS signed the Revised Georgetown Agreement.

The Georgetown Agreement created in 1975, is the Constitutive Act of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) which aims to ensure sustainable development and poverty reduction within the ACP Member States. 

On 9 December 2019 the 9th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government adopted the Revised Georgetown Agreement, which inter alia changed the organization from the ACP Group of States to the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (OACPS). The number of themes addressed has been expanded to address global challenges and issues such as the environment and climate change and peace and security.

The Revised Georgetown Agreement came into force on 5 April 2020, when it attained the requisite one-third (1/3) of Member States signatures. The Kingdom of Eswatini is the thirty-ninth (39th) of the seventy-nine OACPS Member States to sign the Revised Georgetown Agreement.  

STATEMENT BY H.E. THE RT HON PRIME MINISTER

 

MR AMBROSE MANDVULO DLAMINI 

 

AT THE ESWATINI ECONOMIC CONFERENCE

 

ROYAL SWAZI SPA

 

WEDNESDAY 23 OCTOBER 2019

 

Your Royal Highnesses,

Honourable Ministers,

Excellencies Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Presiding Officers and Members of both Houses of Parliament

Governor of the Central Bank of Eswatini,

Executive Director of ESEPARC,

Vice Chancellor of the University of Eswatini,

Commissioner General of Eswatini Revenue Authority,

Senior Government Officials

CEO’s of Parastatals

Captains of Industry 

Private Sector and NGO Representatives,

Members of the Media,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

I am honoured to join you here today to be part of this second instalment of the Eswatini Economic Conference themed KNOWLEDGE, INNOVATION, AND DEVELOPMENT IN ESWATINI: CURRENT AND FUTURE PROSPECTS’.

May I from the onset register my appreciation for the opportunity to celebrate with you the outstanding research work done by Emaswati in addressing topical economic policy issues on how to stimulate economic growth and sustainability.  This comes at a critical time when research based and data driven information is crucial to informed decision making to help steer our economy to the right direction.

Allow me therefore to commend ESEPARC, the Central Bank of Eswatini, and the University of Eswatini for putting together this important knowledge-sharing platform to create space for economic policy dialogue between researchers, policy makers, captains of industry, development practitioners and the public.

We may recall that the first Eswatini Economic Conference held in 2017 emphasised the importance of preparing the Kingdom for the economic challenges emanating from the global and regional economy by boosting the roles of science, technology and innovation, including knowledge generation and management in building a competitive economy. It was suggested these issues should be pursued more vigorously in future conferences. It is therefore befitting that this year’s conference is centred on current and future prospects of ‘KNOWLEDGE, INNOVATION, and DEVELOPMENT IN ESWATINI’.

In essence, we are all here today to discuss ways of igniting the knowledge economy that Eswatini can harness at a time when the global economy is on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In this new way of life, technology will disrupt the way we live, the way we produce goods and services and how we relate to one another as individuals, countries and economies. Our lives and economy will be driven by smart technologies in our homes, workplaces and factories where machines will connect through the Internet of Things and Internet of Systems to interact and make decisions autonomously.

To thrive in the fourth industrial revolution, Eswatini must embrace science, technology and innovation, and all other aspects of the knowledge economy. The extent to which the country leverages knowledge and innovation as the cornerstone of our economic make-up will determine Eswatini’s pace on social and economic development. No one, and certainly no country, can afford to ignore or be intimidated by the 4th Industrial Revolution as it comes with many avenues for unlocking opportunities for our younger generations for many years to come. I therefore encourage you to diligently interrogate these opportunities so that they can be brought to the forefront of our economic policy discourse here onwards.

Programme Director, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Government has launched a Strategic Roadmap that aims, among other things, to increase our footprint in the ICT space, create wealth and improve the living standards of all Emaswati. The Roadmap precedes several other programmes initiated by Government to create a path for innovation and sustained economic growth. One of these programmes was the launch of the Royal Science and Technology Park, which is evidence of Government’s commitment to materialise the Knowledge Economy and improve the country’s capacity for innovation and competitiveness.

Through this 2019-2023 Strategic Roadmap, Government commits to addressing structural bottlenecks that inhibit growth in order to boost investment, stimulate private sector growth, accelerate human capital development, achieve policy certainty and develop measures to shield the economy against global shocks.

For such noble intentions to materialise, Government will rely on fruitful partnerships such as this one where the public and private sector come together with ideas to accelerate social and economic development in the Kingdom.  The Government recognises the importance of creating the “Eswatini we want” and thus building a competitive industrial base is key. This will require finding unique opportunities or value chains for industrialisation, prioritising Eswatini’s trade agreements, as well as operationalising Special Economic Zones.

It is without doubt that only a stable macroeconomic and financial system can foster the required sustainable level of economic growth that will be achieved through investments, employment and increased production and productivity.

As such, the research and macro-forecasting tools employed by the Central Bank of Eswatini through its macro-prudential mandate will play a huge role in ensuring that the economy of Eswatini operates in a conducive macroeconomic environment.

It is also important to note that the technological disruptions presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution have also come with developments in the financial technology industry (Fintech). We have seen how mobile money has played a huge role in contributing to increased financial inclusion in Eswatini. It is such technologies that will allow the country to move up the financial services value chain. Research on the opportunities and risks presented by Fintech developments is also crucial.

Research is also needed to improve and sustain the different development projects which Government has invested in across the country aimed at empowering communities to improve their quality of life. It is research that will show us various new methods and technologies that can be applied to accelerate production and development in an efficient manner.

Although institutions such as ESEPARC, the Central Bank and UNESWA continue to produce quality research, the Government of Eswatini recognises that there is still a need to increase funding towards research and development projects in the economy.

We note the ESEPARC study that recommends putting in place mechanisms to amplify private sector participation in the funding and performance of research and development.

As I conclude, may I take this opportunity to acknowledge the support of partners from national and international organisations, particularly the Eswatini Revenue Authority, First National Bank Eswatini, the Royal Science and Technology Park, the United Nations Development Programme and Eswatini Communications Commission. My gratitude also goes to the tripartite institutions that have made this Eswatini Economic Conference possible.

 

I look forward to receiving the economic policy recommendations emanating from this Conference. I am optimistic that the recommendations that will come from this Conference will go a long way in complementing and supporting the development initiatives initiated by the Government for poverty alleviation and economic renewal of the Kingdom of Eswatini.

It now gives me pleasure, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to declare the Eswatini Economic Conference 2019 officially open.

Thank you. May God bless us all.

MINISTRY OF COMMERCE, INDUSTRY AND TRADE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ESWATINI COVID-19 ESSENTIAL SERVICES AS REGULATED

Mbabane, Eswatini – Subsequent to the statement by His Excellency Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini on the 1st April 2020, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade hereby prescribes the essential indutries that will continue to operate during the period of the partial lockdown.

This is an attempt to mitigate the spread of the global pandemic that is COVID-19 and is line with the requirements of Section 23 Sub-section 1 of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) Regulations 2020; which says “the Minister responsible for Commerce shall prescribe essential industries which may continue to operate during the national emergency”.

For those trading with our neighbours South Africa, they should note that South Africa has imposed further restrictions on their trade regulations and will, therefore, not accept any trade in non-essential goods

All businesses and entities that are not involved in the manufacturing, supply or provision of essential goods or services shall, from Friday the 3rd April 2020, cease to operate for the duration of the partial lockdown.

The essential services are as follows:

  1. 1. Food and Agriculture; which includes:
  • Those involved in the food value chain
  1. 2. Retail and consumer goods suppliers, which include:
  • Consumer Goods suppliers
  • Food Retailers e.g. food outlets, raw material suppliers and farmers
  • Those involved in the transportation, logistics and packaging of consumer goods
  • Other Retail Goods that support the medical industry e.g. bedding, linen and emergency clothing for hospitals, health workers and those caring for the sick
  1. 3. Network Infrastructure; which include:
  • Water, waste water and sanitation
  • Electricity suppliers
  • Renewable Energy suppliers
  • Gas suppliers
  • Fuel suppliers
  • Law enforcement
  • Defence, Safety and Security
  • Waste disposal
  • Fire and Emergency services
  • Mining and power stations
  1. 4. Medical and Health; which include:
  • Hospitals
  • Devices and Equipment
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Funders
  • Doctors, nurses, paramedics e.t.c.
  1. 5. Forestry and Sawmills
  • For the production of disposable, health and hygiene products including toilet paper as well as for packaging for food and the health supply chain.
  1. 6. IT Systems and Telecommunications
  2. 7. Finance and Insurance
  3. 8. Tourism and Hospitality
  4. 9. Communications e.g. Media
  5. 10. Hardware Shops
  6. 11. Public Transport and cross-border trade transport
  • These will operate under the guidelines that Government has issued.
  • For cross-border transport, this will be restricted to essential services as defined in Eswatini, South Africa and Mozambique

All essential services are still required to adhere to the directives and guidelines issued in respect of hygiene conditions and limitations of exposure to persons with COVID-19 in terms of Section 23 Sub-section 2 of the COVID-19 Regulations 2020.

These include the limitation of gatherings to 20, the practice of social distancing and the disinfection of work spaces and trolleys as well as sanitisation of workers and consumers.

Released by:

Senator Manqoba B. Khumalo

Honourable Minister for Commerce, Industry and Trade

2nd April 2020

STATEMENT BY THE RT HON PRIME MINISTER

MR. AMBROSE MANDVULO DLAMINI

AT THE HIGH LEVEL BUSINESS FORUM ON THE E-COMMERCE PLATFORM

MAVUSO TRADE & EXHIBITION CENTRE 

THURSDAY 3 OCTOBER 2019

 

Your Royal Highnesses

Chiefs

Deputy Prime Minister

Cabinet Ministers

Excellencies, Heads of Intergovernmental Organisations and their Representatives

Excellences, Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Mr Malualem Syoum, CEO and Chairman of the Board of the African E-Commerce Trade Group and its Members

Honourable Members of both Houses of Parliament

Captains of Industry

Representatives from the Media

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

 

I am honoured, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to welcome you all to this High Level Business Forum. This Forum is part of the programme lined-up for the launch of the Regional Office for Southern Africa E-Commerce Platform set for tomorrow.

When His Majesty King Mswati III confirmed the dates for the launch, Government found it prudent to organize a Business Forum that will provide a platform for stakeholders to interact and engage on this subject pertaining to the rapid digitilization of the global economy.

I personally have a strong background in the private sector, where I became aware of the importance of such platforms for networking and giving birth to business opportunities and subsequent deals that bring tangible benefits. I have no doubt that each one of you has been led and persuaded by a willing heart, to honour our invitation and join us in this new initiative for Africa on the E-Commerce Platforms.

Our leaders in the African continent have already taken a lead in identifying a major challenge for Africa, which is the low level of intra-Africa trade and our continued marginalisation in the global digital economy.  Intra African trade stands at around 15% compared to approximately 60%, 40% and 30% of intra-regional trade that has been achieved in Europe, North America and South East Asia, respectively. 

By the same vein, Africa lags behind in the global digital economy and is not represented in the world’s 70 largest digital platform companies, in terms of their digital wealth.

It is undoubtedly a giant leap that our leaders have not only identified these two problems but have taken the necessary and long-overdue step to put in place mechanisms that will address these problems. The establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provides our continent with hope and a roadmap for Africa to journey the path of addressing the low levels of intra-continental trade.

Supporting trade in goods is Africa’s commitment to liberalise trade in services, in the agreed facilitative priority sectors of Business, Communications, Financial, Tourism and Transport Services.  In addition, as part of the AfCFTA agenda, Africa will cooperate in the areas of Investment, Competition Policy and Intellectual Property, which are equally important pillars in supporting trade in goods and services.

The partnership that the African Union has established with the African Electronic Trade Group is one of the many efforts that are being implemented to address the widening and worsening gap between the under-connected, which is Africa, and the hyper-digitalized countries in other regions. This gap cannot be tackled by Governments alone, but a multi stakeholdership that has a shared mission and vision to raise the standard of living of the African people through transformative digitalization.

It is heartening to note that the African Electronic Trade Group has a vision “to transform Africa’s socio-economic environment by enabling African countries, communities, people and small and medium scale enterprises to leverage modern information and communication technologies”. This vision is equally embedded in our respective national development strategies in the continent.

Programme Director, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to note that the private sector is adequately represented in this Forum today. The Digital Economy Report of 2019, recently released by the United National Conference on Trade and Development, states that businesses that build digital platforms have a major advantage in the data driven economy.

The report notes that 40% of the world’s largest companies by market capitalization have a platform-based business model.  It further clarifies that we are in the early days of data-driven economy because by 2022 the global internet protocol traffic is projected to reach 150, 700 Gigabytes per second.

I have confidence that as you engage today, you will come up with practical suggestions and solutions on how Africa can position herself in this evolving data value chain, composed of private entities which support data collection, data storage, analysis and modelling. Our message to the private sector as Governments is simple - we are in this together. Your success is shared and felt across all facets of the economy.

We are prepared to listen to your suggestions to ensure that we adequately provide the necessary regulatory framework that would promote your meaningful participation in the digital economy. May I also challenge you to be open to new technologies such as blockchain, data analytics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, Internet of Things, automation, robotics and cloud computing, to remain relevant and not be left behind.

It is now my pleasure, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to declare this Business Forum officially opened.

 

Thank you.

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